Quit after one semester of Speech Language Pathology Master's to do post bacc?

Hello everyone,

I started listening to the old pre-meds podcast about a week ago, and have gotten to episode 105. I’m addicted. This podcast has given me confidence to go after my dream of becoming a physician.

My desire to become a physician came gradually through life experiences starting when I was a very young child spending a lot of time in the University of Michigan’s Children’s Hospital with my older brother. Various experiences and classes throughout high school further sparked my interest in becoming a physician. However, at that age I did not have a realistic view of how my life was going to go. I thought I would be married and having kids by 25 years old. I am now 26 with no husband or kids (but I do have a serious boyfriend at least). In high school and throughout university, I thought it would be impossible to have children and be a doctor with medical school debt. Due to encouragement from family members, I defaulted on the idea of becoming a speech language pathologist, but my heart was never in it (hence the 3.4 GPA). I graduated with my BS in 2014, but did not continue onto my master’s degree (the minimum for SLP practice) until the fall of 2018. I knew I did not want to do SLP, so after I graduated, I taught English in South Korea through the EPIK program at 2 public middle schools. After a year, I came back and became a production mechanic for a jet engine manufacturer and advanced to being a digital radiography inspector after 3 months. From 2014 to 2018, my desire to go to medical school became stronger. I have many friends who are in medical school and residency, and watching their victories and struggles made it easier for me to picture myself in their position.

This past year I told my boyfriend (who is currently a DO internal medicine resident) that going to medical school was my dream. His reaction was very discouraging. He encouraged me to enroll in an SLP master’s program instead. So I applied to a MS SLP program last winter and was accepted. I enrolled in the program hoping that my desire to become a physician would melt away. However through my SLP classes and interprofessional education experiences, my dream to go to medical school is stronger than ever. I do not want to waste more time and money on SLP, when I know that I want to practice medicine. However, my boyfriend and family think it’s best for me to finish the program (graduating in December 2019 after 3 more semesters) before starting to work on prerequisite courses and extracurriculars. I would really like to start my journey now. I think that a formal post-bacc would be best for me, although I am open to doing a DIY post-bacc. My next semester is starting up in January, and it is so excruciating to keep doing this program when I know what I really want to do.

Undergraduate BS in Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education (Pre-Speech language pathology) 3.4 GPA
One Semester of MS in Speech Language Pathology 3.6 GPA

Clinical experience:
A semester (4 months) of clinical practicum in a skilled nursing facility, which included evaluating and treating cognitive communication disorders (dementia/stroke/TBI) and dysphagia (Swallowing problems) through individual and group therapy.

During this semester I also evaluated and treated children in a Head Start pre-school program for language and articulation disorders and provided therapy over telepractice for a patient with multiple strokes and dementia, a client with fluency problems, and a teenager with an articulation disorder.

Here is my question:
Should I quit my master’s program in speech language pathology after one semester and start a post bacc?

If you read this whole post, you’re a champ. Thanks! I would appreciate any advice on my predicament.

(My pronouns are she/her/hers) :slight_smile:

I was in a very similar situation in my first year of grad school (my boyfriend was even in his first year of residency). I was working on a combined MSW-MPH and realized medicine was my calling. I decided to finish my masters degrees for a few reasons and put off a post bacc until I graduated. The biggest reason was that I thought it would look awful to medical school admissions committees if I dropped out. The other reason that I stuck it out was that I realized I could pursue medicine related research opportunities during graduate school that would have been closed to me had I not been a graduate student. I sought a lot of advice from the pre-med advisor for the post-bacc that I was accepted to and the dean of my graduate school, both suggested that I not drop out of graduate school. I decided to tell my graduate advisor my plans and was very transparent with everyone while I was in graduate school. Most of my professors, research mentors, and preceptors were really supportive and helped me find opportunities that were aligned with my goal of going to medical school. I went to graduate school at a large state university with a medical school and I was able to complete one of my social work internships and my public health practicum in a clinical department at the medical school. My preceptors introduced me to clinical faculty who allowed me to shadow them. Another preceptor helped me with independent clinical research that fulfilled my graduation requirements, but also involved significant face time in a clinic interviewing patients. I think there are ways to make your current degree program work for you and help you towards medical school (EDIT: and it looks like it might already being giving you important clinical exposure, sorry I missed that part of your post). Once I started my post-bacc, I already had a lot of shadowing and clinical experience under my belt. If you decide to finish your SLP degree, being transparent about your plans will be very important because some medical schools want a letter of recommendation from your graduate advisor. Good luck, it is such a tough decision!

Hi! Dr. Gray covered your question on Session #168! We wish you luck on your premed path!

Thank you,